By Performa Staff
Laurie Simmons, The Music of Regret, 2005. Film still, Act I. Courtesy the artist, Salon 94 and Performa.
From April 27th to May 17th, 2012, a selection of Performa’s archival performance videos from the past four biennials will be on view to the public on Paddle8’s recently launched Paddle8 TV. Viewers will be able to see performances by Liz Magic Laser (Performa 11), Laurie Simmons (Performa 05), Martha Colburn (Performa 09), and Kelly Nipper (Performa 07). All four Commissions have never before been seen online.
On April 27th, a special cut of Liz Magic Laser’s Performa 11 Commission I Feel Your Pain will be on view. Presented in November 2011 during Performa 11, I Feel Your Pain was a new mixed-media performance that restaged America’s recent political contests as a romantic drama. Presented in the SVA movie theater in Chelsea, the performance happened both among the audience and on the cinema’s screen. The artist’s Performa Commission remixed agitprop theater tactics, particularly the Russian Constructivist idea of a “living newspaper,” to examine how emotion is used to establish authenticity on the political stage.
Liz Magic Laser, I Feel Your Pain, 2011. Photo: Paula Court. Courtesy of Performa.
On May 2nd, Paddle8 TV will feature Act One of Laurie Simmons’s first film, The Music of Regret, a poignant reflection on life’s disappointments in the form of a 40-minute, three-part “musical.” A Performa 05 Commission, Acts One and Three premiered at Salon 94, while Act Two was still in progress. In the film, inanimate objects from the artist’s oeuvre– a camera, a gun, a pocket watch– are brought to life by Alvin Ailey dancers, and a group of suburban neighbors (played by hand puppets), and a real-life woman (played by actress Meryl Streep) sings love songs in concert with Simmons’s custom-made ventriloquist dummies. Each vignette, filled with nostalgia for the conventions of family life in 1950s America, tears off a veneer of pleasantries to reveal inconsolable sadness caused by one misstep after another. Riddled with the artist’s signature melancholy, The Music of Regret points to today’s surfeit of commodities, which supplement an emptiness born of social and political carelessness.
Martha Colburn, Introspective Research into States of Mind, 2009. Film Still. Courtesy of the artist and Performa.
On May 9th, Paddle8 TV will present Martha Colburn’s short film Introspective Research into States of Mind, part of Futurist Life Redux from Performa 09. Inspired by the lost Futurist film Vita Futurista (Futurist Life, 1916), Futurist Life Redux featured contributions from 11 contemporary artists, who re-imagined the original film for the twenty-first century. Originally comprised of 11 independent segments conceived and written by different artists, Futurist Life aimed to directly take up several of the ideas proposed in “The Futurist Cinema” manifesto, which declared that film was “the expressive medium most adapted to the complex sensibility of a Futurist artist.” For Futurist Life Redux, the artists were assigned the original film’s 11 segments in a random drawing, given a brief synopsis of the original segment, and ultimately compiled into a single, all-new version of Futurist Life.
Kelly Nipper, Floyd on the Floor, 2007. Photo: Paula Court. Courtesy of Performa.
Paddle8 TV will present Kelly Nipper’s Performa 07 Commission Floyd on the Floor on May 16th. Nipper’s first live performance examined the movement of a hurricane in relation to technology and human emotion. Working with an enormous striped parachute, eight contemporary dancers laid down the hurricane’s pattern in movements determined by a square dance announcer. Working with basic movement principles in a variety of mediums, Nipper is principally known for her work in photography, which explores time, space and shape in relation to the impending future of technology-based relationships. Floyd on the Floor premiered during Performa 07 at the legendary Judson Church.